A.J. Pollock pulled off an amazing catch on the wall along with two RBI as the in-form Los Angeles Dodgers won 5-2 over the San Diego Padres in the MLB on Tuesday.

With the Dodgers in the field leading 1-0 at the bottom of the fourth inning, Manny Machado launched a deep shot which appeared home-run bound but Pollock leapt up for an improbable catch.

Machado's shot would have been a go-ahead two-run homer but instead Pollock robbed him and the front row of fans of a memento.

Earlier, Will Smith had put the Dodgers ahead with a solo shot in the second inning.

Pollock continued to play a key role, helping the Dodgers pull further ahead with a two-run single in the seventh inning.

Sacrifice flies from Justin Turner and Corey Seager brought home Trea Turner and Max Muncy respectively, before Jurickson Profar's two-run homer reduced it to 5-2 in the eighth inning.

Emilio Pagan had four strikeouts for the Padres who used their bullpen, while Julio Urias had four K's across five innings for the Dodgers, before Kenley Jansen closed it out.

The victory means the world champions have won 14 of their past 16 games, while the Padres slump to their 10th loss from their past 12.

 

11 straight for hot Yankees

The New York Yankees continued their hot streak with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Braves to close their series making it 11 consecutive victories, capped by D.J. LeMahieu's two-run homer in the fifth inning.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was in attendance for the first time as a Milwaukee Brewers investor, cheering on the side to a 7-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds, with Omar Narvaez delivering a go-ahead double to top a four-run seventh inning rally.

Nelson Cruz's eighth inning two-run double led the Tampa Bay Rays to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. It was Cruz's third hit of the game, taking his season RBI tally to 70.

Rookie of the Year prospect Luis Garcia impressed again on the mound, keeping the Kansas City Royals scoreless across six and two-third innings in the Houston Astros' 4-0 win. Garcia had seven K's and allowed only four hits.

Hunter Renfroe produced a two-homer game to lead the Boston Red Sox past the Minnesota Twins 11-9, while the Seattle Mariners improved their ordinary run differential with a 5-1 win to sweep rival the Oakland Athletics.

 

Unwanted history beckons for Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles' 14-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels condemned them to their 19th straight defeat. The Orioles' losing streak is the equal worst in the majors in 16 years, when the Kansas City Royals lost 19 in a row in 2005. The run is also the fourth longest since 1900. The American League record is held by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961 with 23 successive defeats.

 

Giants' home-run barrage

The San Francisco Giants slammed four home runs on their way to an 8-0 rout of the New York Mets, meaning they lead the majors with 191 homers. Brandon Belt hit two to reach a career-high 19 homers, while LaMonte Wade Hr and Mike Yastrzemski also homered. Yastrzemski's mammoth blast went a projected home-run distance of 451 feet.

 

Tuesday's results 

Seattle Mariners 5-1 Oakland Athletics
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels 14-8 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 5-2 Toronto Blue Jays
San Francisco Giants 8-0 New York Mets
Washington Nationals 5-1 Miami Marlins
Texas Rangers 7-3 Cleveland Indians
Boston Red Sox 11-9 Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees 5-4 Atlanta Braves
Detroit Tigers 4-3 St Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros 4-0 Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Dodgers x-x San Diego Padres
Chicago Cubs - Colorado Rockies (postponed)

 

Giants at Mets

The Mets (61-64) have lost four of their past five games and eight of their past 10, including an 8-0 loss to the Giants (81-44), and need to find form when the two sides meet again in the second game of their three-game series.

Opening Day.

A term synonymous with baseball across the United States and the globe. For fans, it is nothing short of a national holiday.

The highly anticipated start to the season on April 1 is an occasion steeped in history, with tradition front and centre.

This year's Opening Day means more than most. It is the latest signal of American life and sport returning to normal amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic led to an enforced break and a reduced 60-game regular season schedule behind closed doors, with a limited number of fans allowed to attend the playoffs as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to end their 32-year World Series drought.

But 2021 will see the return of the usual 162-game calendar and more importantly, spectators in the stands. All but one of the 30 teams will start at reduced capacity – the Texas Rangers hosting a full house for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As America's pastime begins anew, we preview the upcoming season, in which the Dodgers look to defend their World Series crown, using Stats Perform data.
 

Kershaw gears up for a franchise-record start

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw – entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal – will be on the mound when the Dodgers open their title defence against the Colorado Rockies.

It will be Kershaw's ninth Opening Day start – the most in franchise history – after injuries prevented him from beginning the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, the eight-time All-Star getting the nod ahead of Walker Buehler and high-profile recruit Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner.

Future Hall of Famer Kershaw boasts a 5-1 record on Opening Day, with a 1.05 ERA (6/51.2), 59 strikeouts and eight walks. The 2014 NL MVP's only loss came in his previous start in 2018 as he allowed eight hits and one earned run, while tallying seven strikeouts in six innings against the San Francisco Giants.

Since 1913, when ERA became an official stat, Kershaw has managed the lowest Opening Day figure among pitchers with six starts – 1.05. The 32-year-old's ERA is ahead of Bob Feller (1.21), Jim Palmer (1.40), Hal Newhouser (1.41) and Walter Johnson (1.51).

As for the star-studded Dodgers, they are 74-62 (.544) all-time on Opening Day, winning nine of their 10 season openers since 2011, losing only in 2018.

Their 9-1 (.900) Opening Day record over this stretch is the best in the league, ahead of the Houston Astros (8-2), Baltimore Orioles (8-2), Seattle Mariners (7-3), Detroit Tigers (7-3) and New York Mets (7-3).
 

All eyes on Tatis and Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. heads into the 2021 season fresh off signing his eye-popping 14-year, $340m contract with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres – winners of two NL pennants – are pinning their hopes on MLB's new poster boy delivering a first World Series to San Diego.

Tatis won a Silver Slugger award last year, having hit .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The powerful 22-year-old is the first player in MLB history to have at least 35 home runs and 25 stolen bases within the first 150 games of his career.

Tatis – the youngest Padres player to debut on Opening Day (20 years and 85 days) in 2019 – became the fastest player in franchise history (24 team games) to reach the double-digit home run mark in a season in 2020 after hitting his 10th and 11th homers in August.

In the postseason, Tatis homered twice against the St Louis Cardinals in October, becoming the youngest Padre to ever homer in a playoff game (21 years and 273 days) and the third-youngest player in MLB history to homer twice in a postseason match, behind Carlos Correa (21 and 20 days old) and Andruw Jones (19 years, 180 days old).

When it comes to on-base plus slugging, Tatis stacks up well. Since 1920, Tatis (150.8) is only behind Juan Soto (153.9 – 2018-20), Albert Pujols (159.3 – 2001), Jimmie Foxx (160.0 – 1925-29), Ted Williams (161.5 – 1939-40) and Trout (165.0 – 2011-13) for highest OPS-plus up until the age of 21.

Across his two Opening Day appearances, Tatis has three hits in seven at-bats and two runs while slugging at .571. The Padres will be hoping he can improve on that when they host face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

By comparison, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton love Opening Day.

Harper – the 2015 NL MVP and six-time All-Star – has nine hits, five homers and six runs in eight appearances, while 2017 NL MVP Stanton has 13 hits, four homers, 10 runs and 12 RBIs through 10 games.

Blue Jays recruit George Springer, a World Series winner with the Astros, has also impressed on Opening Day following five hits, three homers and six RBIs in six games.
 

Can Abreu and Freeman go back-to-back?

Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu was crowned the American League's best in 2020.

Becoming the 28th player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year in his career, Abreu beat Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians and Yankees star DJ LeMahieu.

Abreu – the fourth White Sox player to win the award – was second in MLB with 19 home runs and fourth in the AL with a .317 batting average.

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves trumped Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Padres sensation Manny Machado to the NL honour.

Freeman's 1.102 OPS was the second highest in MLB, trailing only Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, while he led the majors with 51 runs scored and was second in the NL in batting average (.341), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.640).

Does it bode well for the pair in 2020?

In a season after winning the MVP award, a player averages 135.9 hits, 21.5 homers, 80.5 runs and 79.5 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .516.

There have been 13 players to win back-to-back MVPs; 11-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera (AL) was the last to do so in 2012 and 2013. The most recent player in the NL was Albert Pujols (2008-09).
 

The end of Cleveland as we know them

After 106 years, this will be the last season the franchise will be known as the Indians, following the example of the NFL's Washington Football Team, who dropped their Redskins nickname in 2020 amid a long-time controversy.

Since 1915, Cleveland have won two World Series – in 1920 and 1948 – with their current streak of 71 seasons without a World Series title the longest active run in the majors.

In 1954, Cleveland went 111-43 (.721) in the regular season, before being swept in the World Series by the Giants. It stands as the highest single-season win percentage in AL history, and the best by any MLB team in the past 100 years.

Cleveland have had a winning record in each of the past eight seasons (2013-20), making them one of four MLB teams with an active streak of eight-plus (also Yankees 28, Cardinals 13, Dodgers 10). It is tied for the second-longest streak of winning seasons in franchise history (10 straight 1947-56; eight in a row 1994-2001).

Three Cleveland players have won the AL MVP Award – George Burns (1926), Lou Boudreau (1948) and Al Rosen (1953) – while five have claimed the AL Cy Young Award: Gaylord Perry (1972), C.C. Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008), Corey Kluber (2014 and 2017) and Shane Bieber (2020).

The New York Yankees have bolstered their rotation with the signing of two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.

Kluber and the Yankees agreed to a one-year contract reportedly worth $11million, the MLB franchise announced on Wednesday.

The three-time All-Star spent the 2020 season with the Texas Rangers, where he only made one appearance due to a torn teres major muscle in his right shoulder.

Since the end of the 2018 season, Kluber has made just eight starts due to injuries.

But the 34-year-old right-handed pitcher – who won the American League (AL) Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians in 2014 and 2017 – has 1,462 career strikeouts, seven shutouts and a 3.16 ERA.

It comes after the star-studded Yankees also confirmed the return of star DJ LeMahieu on a six-year deal heading into the 2021 campaign.

LeMahieu's deal is through the 2026 season and reportedly worth $90m after starring for the Yankees, who lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 American League Division Series (ALDS).

The three-time All-Star finished the season with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs, leading MLB with a batting average of .364.

LeMahieu was also first in the American League (AL) in on-base percentage (.421) and on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (1.011).

The 32-year-old infielder's efforts saw him finish third in the AL MVP voting and he was the second base Silver Slugger for the second straight year.

The New York Yankees are reportedly finalising a deal to re-sign second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, LeMahieu is set to sign a six-year, $90million contract to stay in the Bronx.

That payday follows a stellar second season with the Yankees, who reached the American League Divisional Series but lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in five games.

LeMahieu finished the season with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs, leading MLB with a batting average of .364.

He was also first in the American League in on-base percentage (.421) and on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (1.011).

The infielder's efforts saw him finish third in the American League MVP voting and he was the second base silver slugger for the second straight year.

The Yankees are due to begin their spring training schedule on February 27 against the Detroit Tigers. Their regular season is scheduled to get under way on April 1 with a meeting with the Toronto Blue Jays.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.